― A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:1, 4-14, 25-27 (The Voice)
Now let me turn to some issues about spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters. There’s much you need to learn.
Now there are many kinds of grace gifts, but they are all from the same Spirit. There are many different ways to serve, but they’re all directed by the same Lord. There are many amazing working gifts in the church, but it is the same God who energizes them all in all who have the gifts.
Each believer has received a gift that manifests the Spirit’s power and presence. That gift is given for the good of the whole community. The Spirit gives one person a word of wisdom, but to the next person the same Spirit gives a word of knowledge. Another will receive the gift of faith by the same Spirit, and still another gifts of healing—all from the one Spirit. One person is enabled by the Spirit to perform miracles, another to prophesy, while another is enabled to distinguish those prophetic spirits. The next one speaks in various kinds of unknown languages, while another is able to interpret those languages. One Spirit works all these things in each of them individually as He sees fit.
Just as a body is one whole made up of many different parts, and all the different parts comprise the one body, so it is with the Anointed One. We were all ceremonially washed through baptism together into one body by one Spirit. No matter our heritage—Jew or Greek, insider or outsider--no matter our status—oppressed or free—we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
Here’s what I mean: the body is not made of one large part but of many different parts. That way there should be no division in the body; instead, all the parts mutually depend on and care for one another. If one part is suffering, then all the members suffer alongside it. If one member is honored, then all the members celebrate alongside it. You are the body of the Anointed, the Liberating King; each and every one of you is a vital member.
Focusing only on what unites us can be a difficult task. It seems far easier to recognize how we are different. Even the simplest ways of identification, I can easily recognize that my husband has dark hair and I have light hair. I have blue eyes and my nephew has brown eyes.
We are pretty lucky. My husband and I both have families that are pretty close, and do a lot together. We live nearby; even our extended families are only a few hours away. When we get together for a reunion or a holiday celebration I may know that there are different skin colors and different eye colors, but I also know that we are from the one family. Often, our gatherings are more fun when we aren't worried about how we are different ages and might consider different activities as to how we would like to spend our time. Our meals are easier when we focus on what everyone can agree upon rather than discussing why I don't eat meat, only fish, and why my husband would like to only eat meat, forever.
These seem like trivial examples, and to a certain extent they are. However, when we focus on the family time and what is best for the family to have an enjoyable evening or weekend together, rather than on what each individual person needs to do in order to enjoy their time, then it seems as if it all naturally falls into place and we have the best time.
The church in Corinth struggled, like most churches even today, about their gifts. What about me? I bring this gift to the church. And what about her, she brings this other gift, which one is better? Nowadays when people ask me about the church that I serve I often get questions about what makes us different from the church they attend, or something similar. Perhaps we still have much to learn, like the church in Corinth, about focusing on what unites us, focusing on the Body of Christ.
We hope you will join us tomorrow - it's supposed to rain a lot in Kansas City, so this is a great reason to come worship together, hear some AMAZING music from the Kansas City Men's Ensemble who will be singing, and simply be together. ALL are welcome to join us, no matter how different you think you might be, we choose to focus on what unites us in the Body of Christ, and you (yes YOU!) are welcome here!